Thousands of smokers in Northumberland are being urged to give quitting a go on No Smoking Day next week – and try to quit at least once a year until they stop for good.
The call comes as new figures suggest smokers in the North East are making more successful quit attempts than elsewhere in the country.
The figures come from the Smoking Toolkit Study from University College London, which shows that in the past 10 years in the North East, around 18.3 per cent of people who tried to quit smoking were still not smoking, compared with 15.7 per cent of people nationally.
Fresh is also encouraging Northumberland smokers who have struggled to quit so far to consider switching completely to an e-cigarette – significantly less harmful than smoking and now the most popular way to quit smoking in the UK. Whether or not smokers use an e-cigarette, they are strongly advised to get support from their local Stop Smoking Service – 01670 813135.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “Some people do manage to quit first time – but for most it takes many attempts. Don’t get disheartened if you didn’t quit first time, and don’t tell yourself you can’t do it. You can come back more determined and better prepared next time.”
Maggie Bratton, 62, from near Ponteland, quit smoking after being diagnosed with mouth cancer.
She said: “Before the cancer I was an adamant smoker – I always had been. I never bothered trying to quit because I just thought I would make a fool of myself and fail but it changes when you get that scared.
“I remember being at the hospital the night before the surgery and I was still smoking at that stage. I went outside for a cigarette and I thought ‘what am I doing?’
“I went back in and put my clothes on and said to the nurse ‘I’m going to go home’ and she asked why and I said ‘because I can’t quit’. Thankfully, she told me to sleep on it and to think of my kids and I haven’t smoked since. I can honestly say I have never craved a cigarette since.”